Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss wrote a withering response to a Wall Street Journal article arguing that “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God,” but the Journal refused to publish it — so Richard Dawkins did instead.
“Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life [and] every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart,” Metaxas wrote.
“Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?”
The problem with Metaxas’ argument, Krauss wrote in the reply the Journal refused to publish, begins with the assumption the scientists actually “know the factors that allow the evolution of life in the Universe. We know the many factors that were important here on Earth, but we do not know what set of other factors might allow a different evolutionary history elsewhere.”
Metaxas’ error is “akin to saying that if one looks at all the factors in my life that led directly to my sitting at my computer to write this, one would obtain a probability so small as to conclude that it is impossible that anyone else could ever sit down to compose a letter to the [Wall Street Journal].”
Krauss then noted that Metaxas ignored recent research on extremophiles — organisms that evolved to live in environments previously thought too harsh and unforgiving to sustain life. Because of them, he wrote, “if anything, the odds [of finding life on other planets] have increased, not decreased.”
Metaxas also erred when he quoted theoretical physicist Paul Davies — a colleague of Krauss’ at Arizona State University — as saying that “the appearance of design is overwhelming.”
“The appearance of design of life on Earth is also overwhelming,” Krauss replied, “but we now understand, thanks to Charles Darwin that the appearance of design is not the same as design, it is in fact a remnant of the remarkable efficiency of natural selection.”
Krauss concluded by writing that “[r]eligious arguments for the existence of God thinly veiled as scientific arguments do a disservice to both science and religion, and by allowing a Christian apologist to masquerade as a scientist [Wall Street Journal] did a disservice to its readers.”